South Taranaki's top policeman is asking for patience while "teething problems" with a centralised telephone system are worked out.
At the end of July, the central police district joined with the 11 others in the country in streamlining their communications so telephone calls to individual Taranaki stations first go through Palmerston North.
The establishment of the centres saw the loss of six jobs of non-sworn police staff in New Plymouth and Waitara.
One month in and Inspector Frank Grant said, as expected, people were frustrated they would ring local numbers and be speaking to someone outside the region.
He said the operators in Palmerston North were having to learn many new locations and staff names, while operators in the eastern district just covered neighbours Napier, Hastings and Gisborne.
"[Here] you've got Palmerston North, you've got Taumarunui, New Plymouth, Hawera, Levin.
"It's primarily [call centre] people from Palmerston North who have worked the centre for some years and are just having to learn new locations.
"We had a discussion last week at our district management meeting about some of the teething problems and so we decided to give them a little bit more time."
Mr Grant said when the telephone changeover occurred there were still some vacancies at the call centre.
"So we thought once the positions are full and we've given them a few months training, then if there are any other issues after we'll start looking at them specifically. They've just got to realise who is where."
The concept behind the file management centres is to save time on paperwork for frontline officers.
"If there's crimes to be reported, that they'll do the initial data entry into the system and then police will be dispatched," Mr Grant said. "Like a burglary, when police get there call staff already have the initial information entered into the system."
The officers also needed to be educated to use the electronic system to note if they were at their desks or out and about during those more routine station calls, he said.
"When you ask for a particular constable, as long as you say the station that they're at, they can look them up in the system."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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